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Gov’t sanctions extension of duty-free sugar importation

To address the high retail price of sugar-fueled by an acute cane shortage in the country, the Cabinet has sanctioned the extension of the framework for duty-free importation of milled sugar to bridge the supply deficit.

During the meeting that took place in Sagana State Lodge, the Cabinet in response to the plight of sugarcane farmers also considered and approved the programme for the revival and commercialization of State-owned Sugar Companies.

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The companies include Nzoia Sugar Company, Chemelil Sugar Company, Miwani Sugar Company (in receivership), Muhoroni Sugar Company (in receivership), South Nyanza Sugar Company, and Mumias Sugar Company (in receivership).

According to President William Ruto who chaired the meeting, the decision sets the sugar sub-sector on a path of renewal by vacating the earlier decision by Cabinet to privatize State-owned entities within the sub-sector.

“If the proposal by Cabinet receives Parliamentary approval, the State-owned entities would be operated under a lease and operate framework.”

In addition, the Cabinet has also considered and approved the proposal to revive and commercialize the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK).

Under the proposed turnaround strategy, NOCK will benefit from a partnership that restructures it into three subsidiaries segmented around the petroleum products value chain as follows:

NOC Upstream Limited focused on exploration and upstream production activities and services, NOC Downstream Limited, focused on the marketing and distribution of petroleum products and NOC Trading Limited, specialises in holding strategic stocks of petroleum products for import and export.

Further, as part of the Kenya Kwanza Administration’s plan for the revitalization of the Economy as set out under the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA), the Government will continue to accelerate investments with a view to growing manufacturing and exports, create jobs and achieve inclusive growth.

In this regard, the Cabinet welcomed the approval by the Pan African financial institution (AFREXIM Bank) for debt-free, 100% equity investments of Ksh 420 billion in Special Economic Zones in Dongo Kundu, Naivasha and Isiolo as well as Export Processing Zones in Sagana, Del Monte, Eldoret and Busia, Regional Centres.

The Economic hubs are additionally expected to incubate Export Quality Assurance and Packaging as well as the rollout of Electric Boda Bodas with the ancillary infrastructure to support eMobility.

Meanwhile, to position Kenya as the destination of choice for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism, and to cement her place as a diplomatic and commercial hub, Cabinet approved the establishment of the Bomas International Convention Centre (BICC).

The ultra-modern convention will feature a Conference Centre, a Presidential Pavilion and at least five hotels.

This State initiative, fifty years after the groundbreaking of Kenya’s first international convention centre (KICC), is expected to further the growth of conference tourism, hospitality, and event and aviation industries as set out in the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA).

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